Various grades of copper pipes

Understanding the Grading System for Copper Scrap

Copper is among the most valuable metals when it comes to collecting and recycling. Given the unique properties that allow it to be an effective conductor of both heat and electricity, copper is used and reused in motors, computers, construction materials, industrial machinery, and much more. 

While the price for copper tends to be higher than other metals, not all copper is the same, and the price offer you receive is largely dependent on its grade. Sgt. Scrap is a premier scrap metal dealer in New Jersey that specializes in recycling copper and other metals for customers in New Jersey, as well as Delaware, southeast Pennsylvania, and parts of New York. Here, we discuss the different grades of copper scrap and what they mean.

Bare Bright Copper

By far the most highly sought-after grade of copper is bare bright. Known for its bright and shiny appearance, bare bright copper is the most valuable and high-paying grade you can find. This grade is used to distinguish the top quality of the copper and is reserved exclusively for bare uncoated, and unalloyed wire or cable and should be bright in complexion.

Scrappers should be advised that copper piping is not included in this classification. To garner this grade of copper, the metal must be stripped of insulation and other materials and must be free from any paint, impurities, or signs of tarnishing. 

Scrap Copper #1

Scrap copper #1 is the second most desirable grade of copper for profitability. To earn this classification, the metal should be comprised of bus bars, clippings, commutator segments, or wire of at least 1/16th of an inch in diameter. It also must be clean in appearance, unalloyed, and uncoated.

Scrap copper #1 has a minimum copper content of at least 98%. It is viewed as the highest grade of copper pipe provided it’s free of fittings, insulation, paint, solder, and other materials. Trace amounts of oxidation on the tubing are generally acceptable depending on the scrap yard.

Scrap Copper #2

Regarded as the third most valuable grade of copper, scrap copper #2 can be identified by its somewhat dirty or blemished appearance. Metal categorized as scrap copper #2 is generally comprised of miscellaneous unalloyed wire, pipe, or solid metal that continues to have solder, paint, or any kind of coating on it even after cleaning. Its minimum copper content should be 94-96%.

Grading Copper Wire

When attempting to determine the value of your scrap metal, it’s important to note that copper wires have a separate grading system. Classifying copper wire is based on the yield of copper remaining after the insulation has been stripped off the wire. The different grades of copper wiring include:

  • High-grade #1 insulated copper wire: Wire or cable that is clean, unalloyed, uncoated, and untinned. It’s assigned a percentage based on the amount of copper that can be recovered.
  • Lowgrade #2 insulated copper wire: Found in items such as appliance cords and telephone wire, low-grade #2 insulated copper wire is the most common and consists of unalloyed wire that contains less copper to recover than high-grade wire and typically has some type of tarnish on the bare wire.

Grades of Copper Scrap Accepted at Sgt. Scrap

At Sgt. Scrap, we happily accept all grades of copper. Our scrap yards in Haddon Township and Pennsauken Township, NJ, serve customers throughout the state as well as other states, including Pennsylvania, Delaware, and New York. Clients are welcome to bring their scrap copper to us themselves or take advantage of one of our scrapping services:

  • Mobile pickup: Customers with no means of transporting their scrap or who don’t want to use their vehicles can use our pickup services, where a team member will arrive at your location at a scheduled time to haul away all your scrap. Once your scrap has been sorted through and weighed, you will be paid accordingly. You must have a minimum of 500 pounds of non-ferrous scrap to use this service.
  • Roll-off dumpster: For larger construction jobs, we offer clients our roll-off dumpsters, ideal for collecting scrap at your leisure. Once full, our team will arrive to collect the container and you will be compensated for its contents. You must have at least 5,000 pounds of scrap to use this service.

For more information about the grades of copper we accept at Sgt. Scrap, or how you can turn your unused scrap into cash, please contact us today.

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